Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is highlighting her work to include stronger Buy America standards in the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that was signed into law yesterday by President Biden.
“I strongly believe that when taxpayer dollars are spent by our government to rebuild our infrastructure, we should be investing in American workers and American-made products. I am especially proud of working across party lines to make sure we included strong Buy America standards in this bipartisan legislation because when we rebuild our infrastructure we need to support American workers, manufacturers and businesses.” said Senator Baldwin. “This bipartisan infrastructure legislation will support our made in Wisconsin manufacturing economy as we put people to work and move our economy forward. It will help make sure America is buying what Wisconsin makes, and I am proud to stand on the side of delivering results for our manufacturers and workers.”
Wisconsin manufacturers and labor are praising Baldwin’s work on the bipartisan infrastructure legislation.
“Wisconsin’s workers and manufacturers craft products known around the world for their quality. Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan efforts to include Buy America policies in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act puts our employee owners first by allowing us to compete with foreign companies on a level playing field. Buy America requirements ensure taxpayer dollars stay in our communities and do not go abroad,” said John Cain, CEO and Board Chairman at Scot Forge in Clinton, Wisconsin.
“It is encouraging to see the infrastructure package pass the Senate in a bipartisan manner and include strong Buy America provisions. Buy America policies are sound policies to rebuild our communities, create millions of jobs and reestablish America’s standing among global competitors. We commend Senator Baldwin for moving this key policy forward,” said Willard Walker, CEO of Walker Forge in Clintonville, Wisconsin.
“This permanent change to the American Iron Steel requirement is very important to Neenah Enterprises, Inc., our employees, suppliers and our surrounding community. We thank Senator Baldwin for driving this critical infrastructure policy change forward,” said Craig Wenzlick, Vice President of Infrastructure & Field Marketing of Neenah Foundry in Neenah, Wisconsin.
“USW members across the state of Wisconsin recognize the enormous potential of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as an historic opportunity to not only make our communities safer but also to support good, family-sustaining, union jobs,” said Michael Bolton, Director of United Steel Workers (USW) District 2. “In order to capitalize on this opportunity, however, there must be strong Buy America rules that ensure that whenever we are spending taxpayer money, it supports American workers first. We thank Senator Baldwin for her tireless advocacy on behalf of working people, particularly as she fought for strong Buy America provisions in this monumental bill.”
Key provisions of Senator Baldwin Made in America Act are part of the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, including:
- Making permanent an American iron and steel requirement for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
- Expanding Buy America to many common construction materials beyond just iron, steel, and manufactured products. New materials could include: non-ferrous metals (like copper), plastic, concrete, glass (including optical glass in broadband), lumber, and drywall.
- Requiring that all of the manufacturing processes used in making the material be completed in the United States in order to qualify as “American made.”
- Requiring the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to consider how many American jobs are created when setting its standards.
In addition, the infrastructure legislation includes a reform that would extend Buy America requirements to infrastructure programs that don’t currently have them. This means that all future federal infrastructure funding would be subject to Buy America requirements. Senator Baldwin also worked to tailor the Buy America rules so that they addressed concerns raised by Wisconsin roadbuilders and foundries.
The bipartisan infrastructure legislation includes provisions from the Baldwin backed Make it in America Act, including reforms that would stop the use of the “public interest” waiver if a foreign contract would decrease American employment, and would also require that each waiver to the Buy American Act be publicly posted online with detailed justifications. The bill would also create a new “Made in America Office” within the Office of Management and Budget, charged with reviewing waivers to the Buy American Act and ensuring compliance with other Buy American laws. In addition, it would give small- and medium-sized American manufacturers the first opportunity to provide products for federally-funded transportation projects.
Finally, the infrastructure legislation directs the General Services Administration (GSA) to establish a website with the address BuyAmerican.gov. The website will include information on all waivers of Buy American laws that have been requested, are under consideration, or have been granted by executive agencies and be designed to enable manufacturers and other interested parties to easily identify waivers.
An online version of this release is available here.